As a couple always looking for new adventures, we had been thinking about experiencing horse riding for a fair amount of time. The idea came back to us during our Croatian holiday in August. We were inspired by the magnificent nature all around us and the near-faultless summer weather.
One day in the morning, a time that we love to spend planning our day ahead, we decided to find a place where we could ride horses. It had to be somewhere on our way from Split back to Rijeka. After an inspection of the map, I found a place that stood out from the rest with very positive comments from people who had been there on a horse ride. It seemed to be far away from any major town or city, which was a huge plus for us – we could be away from everything, experiencing our first horse ride together in the most rural setting – on a trail, perhaps?
The calling whistle
When we arrived, we heard a woman calling a loud command, and after a few seconds, we heard and felt the ground shaking from a string of beautiful horses galloping from a distant corner of her land. Shortly after, we were welcomed by the owner, Kate. Her small establishment went by the humble name, Horse Centre Klanac. Immediately I felt like I was home. Kate’s casual, friendly approach and outgoing, humorous personality instantly made us feel comfortable, making us feel at-ease meant we were even more excited for the upcoming ride. Kate introduced us to her dogs and horses, a happy bunch who were running around looking for any free hands to pet them and pay some caring attention while the horses were getting prepared by Kate and her younger cousin who was also an avid horse rider.
The happy pack
A total of 8 horses lived happily in the barn, each of whom had their own story of becoming Kate’s ‘baby’. Some of the stories were very sad and shocking, it was evident the horses were very lucky to end up in her care. Now they could lead a happy, fulfilling life, free from the threat of any further danger.
Aside from the horses, Kate’s dogs also shared tear-jerking stories of troubled past lives before they ended up living with her. Every single animal on this enchanted little farm in Croatia were full of love, curiosity and kindness.
Kate herself moved from Zagreb, where she grew up, to this little village 6 years ago. She had grown tired of living among the city rush, and so she took it upon herself to buy some land, build a barn for her ever-growing bunch of four-legged friends and in the process changed her life completely in the most beautiful way.
We were not exactly sure where our horse riding experience would happen. Soon enough, we realised we were going on a little trail walk, even though it was the first time Mandell would ride a horse! The experience of being in a team of four horses was so peaceful and felt in a way, spiritual. Two of her dogs tagged along for the stroll as late afternoon gracefully transitioned to the evening. The gentle sunset glow kissed our skin as we walked through the most romantic meadows, with hazy mountains and green woodland forming a stunning backdrop to these remote Croatian lands.
We both agreed, even before it was over, that it was by far the most beautiful experience of our entire adventure. Not only are we looking forward to finding more opportunities to ride horses on our travels in future, but we would both love to return to Kate’s ranch and spend longer there getting to know her and her horses. A trail ride consisting of multiple days would be a dream for us and indeed any horse riders, we’re certain of that.
Cost: 200kn (Croatian Kuna) equivalent to £24/€26.50/$31 – per hour/per person (our ride was roughly 1.5h long)
Location: Horse Centre Klanac, Klanac 127, 53212, Croatia
Contact details: Facebook
Our rating: 5/5 would absolutely love to do it again!